Reports from Second Cruiser Squadron and Duke of Edinburgh and Warrior

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REAR-ADMIRAL'S REPORT—2nd CRUISER SQUADRON.

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Enclosure No. 10 to Submission No. 1415/0022 of 20 June 1916 from C.-in-C, Home Fleet.

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CAPTAIN'S REPORTS—H.M.S. WARRIOR.

Enclosure No. 12 to Submission No. 1415/0022 of 20/6/16 from C.-in-C, Home Fleets.

H.M.S. Engadine,
31st May 1916.
I HAVE the honour to report that I abandoned WARRIOR in Lat. 57° 21' N., Long. 3° 2' E. under the following circumstances :-
2. " Warrior " and " Defence," after sinking an enemy Light Cruiser, came under the fire of the enemy's Battle Cruisers. " Defence " was observed to blow up shortly afterwards, having been struck by two salvoes in quick succession. " Warrior " also received pretty severe j^unishment, both engine rooms being very soon flooded by Kits well below the water line, as well as by several hits about the water fine and through the upper deck. The engines, however, continued to revolve and carried the Ship out of action in rear of our line. 3. Every possible step was taken to shore bulkheads, stop leaks, and cover holes in the deck. 4. H.M.S. " Engadine " at my request, took " Warrior " in tow at about 8 p.m., and at 9 p.m. I signalled by W/T to the Commander-in-Chief : "Bothenginesdisabled,amintowofH.M.S.' Engadine.' Proceeding to Cromarty." 5. At this time I. had every hope of saving the Ship. During the night the wind freshened from S.S.W. to S.W., and the sea continued to rise. This made the Ship worse, and, combined with the seas washing over the decks, flooded the main deck.



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G. After obtaining the opinions of the Engineer Commander, Commander, and next Senior iinwounded executive Officer, as to the chances of saving the Ship, as well as my own personal inspection, I decided that, as it was impossible to save the Ship under the existing weather conditions, she should be abandoned and the ])ersonnel saved. 7. I then ordered the " Engadine " to come alongside, a proceeding involving considerable risk owing to the weather, and transferred the whole ship's company to her, including badly wounded cot cases, one of whom, owing to the motion of the two ships, and in spite of every care, was dropped over board in the operation, but Avas afterwards recovered dead. 8. After consulting the Officer in Command of " Engadine," I decided he should make for Queensferry, and I directed " Engadine " to report to the Commander-in-Chief the position in which " Warrior " was abandoned. This signal could not be passed owing to W/T congestion till 2.0 p.m. 9. I regret to report the casualties as shown on the attached list. A hst of which has been telegraphed to Admiralty.-^ 10. A fuller report will be made as soon as oj^portunity admits, but I must at once state that all ranks and ratings behaved in accordance with the finest traditions of the Service, and every exertion was made to save the Ship subsequently.
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
V. B. MOLTENO,
Captain.

Commander-in-Chief,
Home Fleets.


Enclosure No. 13 to Submission No. 1415/0022 of 20/6/16 from C.-in-C, Home Fleets.

H.M.S. WARRIOR, ACTION OF THE 31st MAY 1916.

Admiralty,
7 June 1916.

Sir,

In amphfication of my letter of the 1st June (dated in error the 31st May), reporting the abandonment of H.M.S. " Warrior " on 1st June, I have the honour to report as follows : General Narrative of Events. At about 5.40 p.m., G.M.T., being in company with " Defence " (5 cables astern) in position D (L.S. 1-10), steering S.E. by S. at 20 knots, flashes were observed about 2 points before the Starboard beam, which I imagined (quite correctly) were our battle cruisers, engaging the enemy's battle cruisers. Our own light cruisers appeared to be on the disengaged bow of our battle


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cruisers, steering so that I was on their Starboard bow. Tliese light cruisers came in sight at the same time as the more distant flashes of our battle cruisers guns. As our light cruisers approached smaller natures of ])rojectiles were observed to be falling, generally speaking short of them, also heavier natures of projectiles apparently short of the enemy Battle Cruisers, fired by our own Battle Cruisers. These projectiles were seen to be falling before any enemy vessels were seen. At about 5.47 I observed about 4 points on my Starboard bow (course still S.E. by S.) three, and possibly four, enemy light cruisers. "Defence" altered course about 3 points to port and brought the second or third light cruiser, which was closer than the others, to the bearing of Green 80. She 1:hen signalled " open fire " and " ship interval 12 sees." This vessel had 3 funnels and appeared to be one of the type building in Germany for Russia of which Lieutenant (G) had obtained a silhouette. I ordered speed to be increased to 21 knots to close " Defence." Three salvoes were fired by " Defence " and three by " Warrior," but all our shots falling short, I ordered " check fire." " Defence " then altered course to Starboard, bringing the enemy light cruiser almost ahead and shortly after, by another turn to Starboard, to about Red 40. Time noted of making this second alteration of course was 6.1 for " Warrior." Our light cruisers had now passed under our stern fairly close to us and projectiles of 6-in. and 4-in. guns were falling fairly well round us from the aforementioned light cruiser. At6.5Portgunshadopenedfireonthesameenemy. Isaw her hit both by '" Warrior's " and " Defence's " 2nd salvo, and she appeared to be crippled, and very soon nearly stopped. " Defence " continued to close her to about 5,500 yards before turning away to Starboard at 6.17, and "Warrior" closed to about 3 cables of " Defence " going about 135 revolutions (just 22 knots). At 6.19 "Warrior" turned to Starboard, and "Defence" Avas observed to be hit by two salvoes in quick succession. A huge furnace appeared to be under her fore turret for quite an appreciable time (10 sees, perhaps) and then she blew up and disappeared. From the time of about 6.7 onwards " Defence " and "Warrior" were being straddled by heavy salvoes (11-in. to 14-in.). At 6.17 1 ordered the Lieut.-Commander (N) to work the ship from the conning tower, and entered it myself and continued to work the ship from that position till the action was over, Lieut.-Commander (T) and Signal Bosn. remaining just outside, as there was no room for them inside. A shell a few moments afterwards wrecked the bridge and wounded Lieut.-Commander {T) (Lieut. -Commander Bromley) outside the C.T,


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" Defence " having gone at about 6.20 p.m. and light crui.ser Russian type sinking just afterwards, I decided to Avithdravv and obstruct tJie fire of the B.C. fleet and 5th B.S. as little as possible, but I noticed that the ship was losing her speed as I turned away, and sent a message to keep the engines going at all costs. At 6.32 I received a rejwrt that Starboard engine room was* disabled, and at 6.33 that both engine rooms were disabled, and sliortly afterwards that there were two or three fires on the Main Deck, one especially bad round the .Ship's and Armament offices, which blocked access to the Engine Rooms. During the whole time the " Warrior " was withdrawing she drew the fire of at least four of the enemy's heavy ships, first they appeared to be Battle Cruisers, but latterly were certainly Battle Ships. I passed some distance astern of the 5th B.S. except " War- s.pite," who was considerably astern of the remainder of 5th B.S. and to Starboard (enemy's side) of the Hne. I should have passed astern of her also had she not turned to Starboard and passed under my stern, thereby screening me from the enemy's fire. This was a particularly gallant act as the " Warspite " had just been having a very severe pounding herself, and she probably saved " Warrior " being sunk then and there. " Warrior " then passed the rear of our own Battle Fleet and observed one of our armoured cruisers almost astern of the Battle Fleet, about 4 miles away. Lieut. Sargent, R.N.R.., who was stationed in the Main top, reported that he observed a ship of " Black Prince " class blow up about 10 minutes after the " Defence." Owdng to ofHcers and men having dispersed, I am unable to get this report confirmed, but I think it quite probable. After passing the rear of our battle fleet I shaped a course for Kinnaird Head, and almost At once sighted the " Engadine." I directed her to stand by me, as I was badly disabled. Both engine rooms were filled with water to within 10 ft. of the Main Deck, but the engines continued to revolve, giving the ship a speed of quite 10 to 12 knots. Having ascertained that there was no possibility of the engines working for more than another hour, at 8 ]).m. I directed H.M.S. " Engadine " to take " Warrior " in tow, which she did, and proceeded towing at a speed of 8.2 knots for the first hour, and 1 had good hopes of saving the ship. At 7 a.m. next day, speed was about 6 knots, as " Warrior " by then had sunk so low aft. Officers and men worked most heroically in shoring bulkheads, stopping shell holes and leaks, and manning the hand pumps, but owing to the rising sea and the list to Port which was increasing, it was impossible to keep the water from rising on Main Deck. At about 7.45 a.m. I decided that unless the ship were abandoned immediately most of the ship's company and all the


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wounded would perish; I therefore decided to abandon her. However, as I did not know but that a vessel might be close by to tow her, and that the weather might possibly get quite smooth, I closed all the W.T. openings before quitting her. As it turned out the ship was quitted only at the very last moment, after which it would have been impossible for the " Engadine " to get alongside and take off the ship's company, I consider that two to three hours was the maximum time she could have remained afloat, under the weather conditions that prevailed. Every sea was washing over the upper deck, and her stern was within 3 ft. of the water, and a list of about 6° to Port (Windward). The position in which " Warrior " was abandoned is estimated to be 15 miles North Magnetic from that given originally, viz., Lat. 57.21 N., Long. 3.2 E. This position is " determined after correcting the reckoning when Engadine made May Island at 1 a.m. next morning. At the time I signalled Lat. 57.21 N., Long. 3.2 E. this position agreed almost exactly with the reckoning of " Engadine " and the position was only subsequently found to be in error as explained above. I have already forwarded through the V.A., B.C.F., the action I took in regard to the confidential books and papers on board, and an additional copy is forwarded herewith.^ To assist in maldng out an accurate account of the battle I have drawn out the attached series of plans^ illustrating the positions of other vessels relative to " Warrior," but, of course, all the vessels that were -within the radius of vision are not put down, but those only which I and my Lieut.-Commander (N) and Lieut. (G) can remember observing. The times were taken by my Clerk, Mr. 0. H. Matthews in the lower C.T. with a watch set for G.M.T. As regards the movements of the other ships of the squadron, just before opening fire I enquired what v/ere the movements of the other two ships of 1st C.S. I was informed that the ship at G was moving to her station on deployment, that at F was trying to follow " Warrior," and as I looked round T saw the ship at F about 2| miles W. by S. from " Warrior." I saw neither of them again during the action, but I was informed just as " Warrior " left the action and got out of range, that " Duke of Edinburgh " (but jDrobably this was " Black Prince ") had been under very heavy fire during the action. I cannot say who the officer or man was who made this report, but it was not Lieutenant Sargent, R.N.R. H.M.S. " Engadine " was most skiKully handled, first when taking in tow and subsequently in coming alongside. Her Captain and Officers behaved splendidly in caring for us, and I am making an application for the Royal Humane Society Medal for Fhght-Lieutenant Rutland, R.N., Avho gallantly risked his life to save a wounded man.


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I am t()i\\ar(liii<;' this incompleted narrative with the attached plans, wliicii arc not to scale, in order to give a general idea of what occurred, but 1 shall forward a further amplifying report in a few daj^s. All Officers and Men, except those in the following list, have been sent to their respective Depots to be kitted up, and to have 10 days' leave. The Officers mentioned below I am retaining in London to coinplete my reports. I have applied for and obtained a room at the Admiralty where we can meet and M^here I can be communicated with : Commander G. J. P. Ingham. Lieutenant-Commander E. J. Birch. Engineer-Commander H. W. Kitching. Fleet-Paymaster R. W. Walker. Lieutenant R. Mends. . Engineer-Lieutenant G. Morgan. Artificer-Engineer A. J. Daniels. Mr. Matthews, Clerk. By orders of the First Sea Lord, Avho expressed a wish to see me, I am forwarding a copy of this report direct to the Admiralty.
I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
V. B. MOLTENO,
Captain,

The Secretary of the Admiralty,
and the Commander-in-Chief,
Grand Fleet.


Enclosure No. 14 to Submission No. 1415/0022 of 20/6/16 from C.-in-C, Home Fleets.
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GENERAL OBSERVATIONS, DATED 8th JUNE 1916. By captain, H.M.S. WARRIOR.

VisibiHty was quite 11 miles at 4.0 p.m., but grew steadily less up to 7 p.m., when it was onty about 8 miles. It was much clearer looking to North and West than towards South and East. The enemy vessel sunk was the only one which could be certainly recognised by me, but I am almost certain of seeing the " Moltke " as well."^ The Signal Boatswain is sure of recognising the " Konig " or " Kaiser " class of ship. Lieut.-Commander (N) is certain that leading battleship was one of the " Kaiser " class.


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Lieutenant (G) is almost certain of the " Moltke " or " Von der Tann." Fire from the German heavy ships was by director and very accurate from the first. Salvoes fell close to the ship almost before the enemy could be seen. Calibration was very close indeed, about 75 yards spread usually. To the smallness of spread is undoubtedly due the fact that the " Warrior " was not hit more often. The whole salvo missed as a rule. There was practically no spread for direction. At least three, and probably four, heavy ships were firing at " Warrior " and " Defence " from 6.5 p.m. till 6.40 p.m. "Warrior" was holed at least fifteen times by 11-in. to 14:-in. calibre guns, and about six times by 6-in. or 4-in. ; one of the latter hit the fore turret early in the action doing very little damage. " Warrior " was being hit by 6-in. or 4-in. projectiles before the enemy light cruisers were Avithin range of her guns. The light cruiser which was sunk was seen to use smoke boxes. These were floating on the water and gave out a large dirty- white cloud which at times completely hid her, and v/ere a great hindrance to the spotting officer. With regard to spotting, the " over " splashes of a salvo which straddled were usually visible, but this was not the case with shots which fell further over. Owing to the hazy atmosphere and the great vibration aloft only very low power glasses could be used. The vibration was abnormal owdng to rigging being cut. Spray from splashes fell several times into fore top and put the spotter out of action for about (sic). At the time " Warrior " was close to " Warspite " the enemy vessels were no longer visible, but only the flashes of their guns, while " Warspite " and " Warrior " were receiving very heavy fire. There were 100 casualties, 19 of these were in the engine room, and most of the remainder on the main deck. V. B. MOLTENO, Captain.


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Notes

  1. (original footnote) Part omitted referring only to damage inflicted on WARRIOR.